Luke Waltons Forehead presented by the Sports Dude.

Monday, April 25, 2005 at 9:38 AM

The Three Musketeers.

I guess that is what you could call them, although they may not appreciate the cheesy nickname too much, in reference to Charles Rogers, Roy Williams and Mike Williams. They are the Lions last three #1 picks, all receivers, all studs at their position in college and now all Lions team mates. What the hell can you say about it, you can guess and come up with theories all you want, but can you blame the Lions? They were in an excellent position this year to do something unheard of in Lions town, not drafting for a need but rather drafting the best player available at that time, which happened to be #10. Was Mike Williams that, damn right he was! Was it a mistake? Who knows, only time will tell, and the only player that really could put it back in the Lions face would be Derrick Johnson, the only guy I think would have been a better pick for them at #10. If Johnson becomes a stud, which might happen, and the Lions offense flounders, with Joey that is a possibility, then this could be a mistake. But there were no corners left to take, I really did not care for the DE's that were available, so if not Johnson then Mike Williams made the most sense. That must have been the logic in the Lions "war room", so they snatched the best athlete that was there and got, yet again, another receiver.

Now, in the office today I have heard many a conspiracy theory as to why the Lions did this, but there is no need to really talk too much about them and wonder why. I really think it was just a matter of the best pure athlete available at the time, and the Lions did that. They are deep and athletic at LB, maybe Johnson would have been nice, but it wasn't a "need". Maybe the Lions know something more about Charles Rogers than we do, maybe "Mr. Glass" himself (yes, I always picture Samuel L. Jackson's character in "Unbreakable" when I think of Charles Rogers) is not as healed as the Lions would like. Maybe they have just given up on the dude all together, but I think that is highly unlikely. Maybe there is a trade in the works that we don't know of, but again I don't buy it either. I still think of all the talk about how "big" Mike Williams already is and how much bigger people believe he may become. The Lions did pick up Marcus Pollard to be there TE this year and next (it was a two year contract, right?!?!), maybe they are figuring that they can make Williams become their TE of the future if he does continue to grow. Who knows, but all the theories aside I think this is nothing more than the best athlete at the #10 and that is it. Also, I really think they did this to basically broom Joey out the door, that is where my conspiracy theory comes in.

Look, we all know that here at Luke Waltons Forehead there is not a lot of Joey love to be had, never has been and never will be. I have also said that if Joey proves me wrong and somehow does turn into a decent QB that I will gladly eat my words, because if he does good then the Lions do good and I have no problem with that. I would love for the Lions to succeed, but I just don't see Joey being the one under center when it happens. All that being said, there are no excuses now for Joey, none what so ever. Period, point blank, end of story - you can not say that he does not have the weapons around him anymore. He has a nice young RB in Kevin Jones that should be good for 1200-1400 yards a year, the TE came from the Colts and we have seen Pollard, we know he has skills. Now there are four receivers that are all skilled in Rogers (let's pretend he is 100% and will be the kid the Lions drafted), the Williams boys in Roy and Mike and don't forget Chad Johnson, a gifted receiver in his own right that has just been in a couple bad systems the past couple years. Say what you want about the offensive line, but they played better down the stretch last year and Kevin Jones did surpass 1,000 yards, so they can't be all that bad. Looking at this offense on paper there is only one question mark I see and that is the guy distributing the ball to all these weapons, one Joey Ballgame. This is set up perfectly for him to succeed and if he falters, if he fails for even one second, the plug all but has to be pulled. And that is where my theory comes in.

Say what you want about Millen, but I really don't think he is a Joey supporter, I really don't. I think Joey was a Morningweg pick, but more importantly, a William Clay Ford pick, and that is where the problem lies. Mr. Ford is a loyal guy, which is a very stand up trait to have, but in the sports world sometimes loyalty can be a negative and not a positive. I really think Ford doesn't want to be unloyal to Joey and I think all these offensive weapons are a way for Millen and Mooch to throw it in his face. I really think they have all the pieces there to say to Ford now "Look, the kid has studs all around him and he is failing, can we finally pull the plug now?" I think that may be the only way to get Ford to see the mistake that is named Joey Harrington, admit fault, and put Garcia under center for christ's sake. Is Garcia the long term answer? No, he is aging and his skills are definitely on the decline. But shit, even Garcia at 50 to 75 percent of what he was in San Fran is better than Joey at 110% and I think Mooch and Millen are all but forcing Ford to see that. Yes, I am aware that Millen said the pressure is now on Mooch, and I agree, there is a shit load of pressure on Mooch as well. But don't you think that if after three games, which is my pick, if Joey stumbles for one second that Mooch will see the pressure on him and say "Look, let me put my guy under center now and let's ride this thing out?" I think all of these moves, all the little behind the door type things are being done to get Joey out of there and let everyone save face - well, mainly Millen and Ford, Mooch wasn't around when they wasted that pick on Joey! I say three games and done for Joey, and if he proves me wrong so be it! But all the weapons are there for the kid to utilize, I just really don't think he has the skills to do it.

Lastly, I like the move that Millen made in the second round there to get that Cody kid from USC. If he is the pro that he should be, that gives the Lions a great replacement for Dan "Big Daddy" Wilkinson, who is aging himself and close to retiring. Crap, Shaun Rogers and Cody for years to come sounds pretty damn good to me, how about you? The other picks I am not too sure on, I know they got a corner in the third round from Stanford, Stanley Wilson, that people are calling the Lions "sleeper" pick. The QB from UConn whom should be there #3 this year, Dan Orlovsky, that I am guessing was a Mooch pick for sure. Then there final two picks fall in the "WHOM!?!?" department, DE Bill Swancutt from Oregon St. and LB Jonathan Goddard from Marshall. No disrespect meant to them, but I just never heard of them.

Lastly, although I love my Wolverines with a passion, I was damn glad to see on Ernest Shazor did not get drafted. Cat should have stayed in school for his senior year, especially after his piss poor Rose Bowl performance, so it made me laugh a little inside this morning. Can you say "tackled Texas QB Michael Young like a girl!"? Actually, you can't even say tackled, dude got juked more times then I have ever seen anyone get juked in my life! What a waste, he would have looked good back there for the Wolverines for a senior season, but it is what it is right?

Well, that is enough BS from my keyboard for one day! Later we talk Pistons/Sixers and my little farewell to Reggie Miller, who is another one of my "asshole and good riddance" type of guys! Later - the sports dude.

Blogger Ian C. said...

I'm with you on the draft, but I'm not sure I agree with you on Millen's opinions toward Harrington. In fact, I think Mornhinwheg has said that Harrington was Millen's pick, not his. Marty didn't want to take a QB, because he knew it would take longer for the team to be good, and increase his chances of being fired.  

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Anonymous Evan said...

Yeah, I think Marty was always a Mike McMahon fan (hence McMahon's new role as towel boy and cheerleader gawker on Philly). He's the one who wanted to prove McMahon could do it, thus no need for Joey. That doesn't mean Millen's a HUGE Joey fan, but I think that if Millen really didn't like Joey, Joey would already be gone. Millen can be a trigger happy mo-fo when it comes to taking and ditching players. If he really hated Joey, then Harrington would already be gone.

But -- and you know this -- I think Joey still has potential. At Oregon, Joey was a big ball chucker, not a touch pass guy, not a tight end guy, not a rollout and through some cutesy route guy. Nope. Just a drop back and let it fly sort of pocket passer. And Mariucci NEVER gave him the chance to do that until the end of the year. Playing with a good running back, a good O-line, and a bunch of shitty recievers (Scotty Vines and Reggie Swinton), Joey put up 2 300+ yard games and almost put up another one. Keep him in that offense and add Chuck Rogers and Mike Williams and Marcus Pollard to the mix and I think that's a recipe for success.

And hey, if Mooch reigns in their new offensive coordinator and decides Joey isn't the guy, Garcia is the perfect pansy for Mooch's ultra-conservative style. Either they'll win more games because Mooch will let Joey and the receivers do their thing, or they'll win more games because Mooch pulled Joey and Garcia's throwing a million 5 yard passes. Either way, they'll be better this year.

Williams alone ensures that, I think. Having him play as the slot, weak side, etc reciever in all the three receiver sets and in third down and red zone situations virtually guarantees that we have a 4.5 40 guy who is as big as some linebackers blazing around out there against some tiny nickelback. Tell me that's not a huge upgrade from Az Hakim, Mr. Drops himself.

I'm excited as hell for the Lions this year. I'm a little worried about injuries, since I think the Lions seem to have the worst training staff on earth (how many other teams lose half their starters after 3 games?). But other than that, I think they finally have the talent and depth to actually compete -- especially in this new age of "parity."  

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Anonymous SB said...

I completely agree with you about Harrington. Put in Garcia! He can make it happen with Rogers, M.Williams, R.Williams, Pollack and Kevin Jones. We need to win now! Joey had his chance.  

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Anonymous Evan said...

How can you say Joey had his chance?

He played for a year under Marty Morningidiot with no real talent around him at all.

Since then, he's played on the most oft-injured team in the entire NFL with, up until the last half of the season, a poor running game and a poor O-line.

I'll be the first to admit that Joey isn't a Brett Favre type guy who will just take games over and make all the players around him better. But there are only 3-4 of those guys in the whole league.

He's got to get a chance to prove he can do it with even half of his starters still intact now that he actually HAS good starters. If he can't do it this year, I agree. No more excuses. He should get a few games to prove that though.

If Harrington works out, the offense will be way better due to his age, arm strength, and durability versus Garcia's style and Mooch's older, more conservative variation on things.

And hey, if 6 games in to the season we're 1-5 or 2-4 and it's Harrington's fault, yank his ass out and put Garcia in. But until then, it seems awfully risky to put in a mediocre guy like Garcia when you have such potent deep threats and Harrington ended last year with a couple of 300+ yard games.  

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